Lisa's week

lisas week teaser

Lisa's week: Enjoying the downtime


Well, here we are at the end of a wonderful long 5-day weekend and I have to say that it was fantastic. Relaxing, rejuvenating, calming and exactly what I needed as I head towards a particularly busy time of the year.

Here in North-Rhine Westphalia, we were particularly lucky to have this extra-long weekend with just one “Bridge Day” because we are one of the states where 1st November is a regular Bank Holiday and of course, the whole country was given 31st October off work because of the 500-year anniversary of Reformation Day.

I use the phrase “Bridge Day” although we don’t have that in the UK. The only time we would have a day in the middle of the week that could be joined to a weekend is at Christmas and New Year, and to be honest we just talk about the “day between the weekend and the Bank Holiday” or vice versa! In fact, I’m not sure if the term Bridge Day would be understood. I ought to try it out on my family to see if they get it…

But given the fact that my 5 days off work consisted of just two regular workdays, (although I’m aware that some towns and cities took the chance to have an “Open Sunday” this week to compensate), that meant that there were three days of downtime. Here in Germany, that phrase means just that. Time to do nothing. No work, no shopping, no hectic. Just calm, quiet time with your nearest and dearest.

This day of total rest is very different from what goes on in the UK where Sunday has turned into the busiest shopping day of the week – or so it feels if you ever venture into the city centre or the local supermarket. The weekly food shopping is done, clothes are bought, cars are washed, gardens are gardened and DIY (do it yourself) work around the house is completed after visiting home improvement stores and bringing car loads of products back home to complete the projects!

In fact, whenever I’m “home”, Sunday feels just the same, if not more hectic, than a regular workday. And Bank Holidays are the same as far as I can see. Since 1994, shops have been allowed to open for 6 hours on a Sunday or a Bank Holiday and every minute of those hours is used to the full by shoppers across the country. In fact the details of the law specify that small shops can open at any time they like and there are no restrictions in Scotland. Only Easter Sunday and Christmas Day are fully protected and large shops are not allowed to open at all on these days. According to the British Retail Consortium, Saturdays win for total sales and number of people in the shops but Sundays win in terms of hourly sales with customers making the most of the 6-hour opening time.

I might not have had coffee and cake, which appears to be the archetypal activity for Sundays, or Bank Holidays but I filled my days with a whole lot of nothing. I slept a lot, hung out at home, watched some TV, went out for breakfast and dinner, enjoyed lovely long walks in the gorgeous autumn sunshine and explored the beautiful city of Heidelberg. A few of days filled with nothing in particular and I loved every minute of it.

How about you?

What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too

Episode 51: Celebrating St George

Episode 52: The perfect start to the day

Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)

Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)

Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)

Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!

Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1

Episode 58; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2

Episode 59: Summer Solstice

Episode 60: Harry Potter turns 20

Episode 61: Quick Tip of the Week - live, life, live

Episode 62: Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Episode 63:  I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Episode 64: Stick a stamp on it!

Episode 65: Idiom of the week - Water under the bridge

Episode 66: I say QWERTY, you say QWERTZ

Episode 67: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 1)

Episode 68: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 2)

Episode 69: Joking around in Scotland

Episode 70: The first day of school

Episode 71: Let's go down to the Wiesn!

Episode 72: Celebrating language

Episode 73: It's a Harry thing!

Episode 74: My favourite time of the year

Episode 75: TED-Ideas Worth Spreading

Episode 76: Grinning like a Cheshire cat